Sealing and insulation are like two peas in a pod when it comes to home efficiency. They stick together through thick and thin, from hot summer months to cold, dry winter months, and all the days in between. Read on to find out why sealing and insulating your Georgia home is one of the smartest and most practical ways to enjoy maximum comfort and lower energy bills all year long.
Why Are Sealing and Insulation Necessary?
It costs a lot of money to keep homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter. High energy bills are largely due to air leaks and poor insulation in the home shell, which allow the movement of heat energy between the comfortable conditioned spaces and spaces outside the conditioned areas and the home.
The problem for leaky homes is the natural propensity for heat energy to move from a warmer place to a cooler place. A good example of this is the air conditioning system. An A/C doesn’t cool air the same way a furnace adds heat energy to the air. An air conditioner uses extremely cold refrigerant to actually absorb and remove heat energy from household air, which makes the air cooler. This means, no matter what, a leaky home may expect comfort and energy bill issues as follows:
- Cooling months – During hot summer days, the heat energy of warmer outside air naturally seeks to move through air leaks into your nice cool home.
- Heating months – In the winter, heat energy from your warm home seeks any means possible to move to the colder air outside the living spaces, whether it’s the cold attic, garage or frigid air outside the home.
Greater Comfort and More
Heat energy movement, otherwise known as heat gain and heat loss, through the home shell manifests in drafts, uneven temperatures and rapid temperature swings characterized by frequent A/C, heat pump and furnace cycles. Sealing and insulation plugs the holes and offers a heat conduction barrier, which effectively reduces home discomforts. Air sealing also helps make it easier to manage humidity swings between the humid cooling months and the dry heating months.
Buttoning up your home also delivers these benefits:
- Energy savings – According to the Energy Star program, the typical home may save about 20 percent in energy bills with proper sealing and insulation in place.
- Better indoor air quality – Air infiltration between the living spaces and the attic, crawl spaces, basement and/or garage may introduce contaminants and harmful gases into the home, in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from building structure, auto emissions, vermin waste and more. Air sealing effectively stops or greatly limits cross contamination.
- Better heating/cooling performance – Buttoning up your home reduces the heating and cooling load the A/C, heat pump and/or furnace must meet. A lighter workload reduces wear and repair bills. If your comfort systems quick-cycle frequently, this too will be reduced, allowing them to reach peak performance.
Air sealing materials include caulk, weatherstripping, expanding foam spray and switch-plate gaskets. Following matches air leaks to the recommended sealing materials:
- Windows and doors – Leaks around windows and doors are very common and most often require weatherstripping. Weatherstripping materials and types vary greatly to their uses and application. For instance, rubber or foam weatherstripping is appropriate around door frames. Plastic V-strip tension weatherstripping is appropriate for double-hung windows.
- Attic access door – Foam weatherstripping is typically most appropriate and important around the attic door. Test the attic door with a smoke pencil from time to time to make sure it stays sealed.
- Switch plates – Air infiltration even occurs through wall switch plates. Unscrew switch plates and install gaskets.
- Attached garage – Unfinished shared walls and ceiling of attached garages should be insulated with fiberglass rolls, sealed with caulk and joint compound, and painted.
How Does Your Insulation Stack Up?
Take a look at the insulation in your attic. It should be well above the joists. Adding fiberglass rolls or loose fill could be a weekend project, though there are safety factors to consider. Attics are typically harsh spaces in the home as far as heat, humidity and cold. You also have to watch your step, and be careful not fall through the ceiling. After a few hours in an extremely hot or cold attic, the chance of mishaps due to fatigue increases. It’s wise to consult a trusted HVAC professional.
If you would like more information about sealing and insulation, please contact Ray & Son Heating & Air Conditioning.
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